DEUTSCHE WELLE - Dezember 20, 2010
Goa still a safe place?
beach and sun, Goa is one of the most sought after tourist
destinations in the world. But India’s beach tourism capital that
attracts millions of people every year is getting overcrowded.
Editor: Grahame Lucas
foreign tourists in the last couple of years have hit Goa’s
reputation as a holiday destination hard. Goa, which attracts half a
million foreign tourists annually, has seen a string of crimes
including rapes, murders and mysterious deaths involving foreign
Over 40 per
cent of the visitors are British followed by the Russians and the
Isrealis. Reeling under the spate of crimes, the Goa government was
forced to look at novel security mechanisms, one of which involves
setting up a tourist police force, manned by former servicemen.
Frank, a hotelier blames the media for playing up the crimes. "Goa’s
image is not being tarnished exactly. It is just that the media at
times creates all this hype," he complains, "And all these problems
are created by the media so that politicians are targeted in all
these issues to run them down. That is the end point of all the
criticism and the problems that are taking place."
Fernandes who runs a holiday shack on Utorda beach in south Goa says
the place is safe but discretion is important. He doesn’t think
Goa’s image has taken a beating. For him Goa is a safe place. "It
depends on how you behave and how you act with other people. They
should have their self-respect.. if you have your self-respect, no
such things like rape or killing is going to happen. And don’t ever
go for drugs," he says.
But it is just
not this side of Goa that has recently been on display to the
international community. Goa’s tourism belt is getting overcrowded.
Some of its most scenic spots are being deprived of water resources,
choked by sewage and inundated by humans.
Mukhopadhyay who teaches at Goa University explains: "One needs to
remember that in the last few years the tourist inflow exceeds the
size of the domestic population. And the pressure this puts on the
resources of the state is fairly large and in the long run can
impact quite cruelly on the state’s future earning capability. I
think a better managed tourism industry would not only be beneficial
for the stakeholders of the industry but to those who come to the
state to enjoy its pristine natural beauty."
In the last
few years there has been rapid commercialization of the picturesque
beaches that has prompted businessmen and realtors from other major
cities to invest in Goa.
This, in turn,
has sharply pushed up land prices. Villages now have to contend with
mega housing projects and the consequences are serious and solutions
a long way off. Nascimento de Souza, a retired professional blames
the state authorities for the disorganized planning.
The party goes
is that they have no plan. I mean they talk of having a plan but it
is a plan that is being produced by certain vested interests but not
for the broader interests of Goans or the future of Goa," he says.
But for some
the problems seem far away too. The party goes on. Just a stone’s
throw from the sands of Baga beach in the northern part of Goa,
Mario runs the popular resort of Cavala.
Only time will
tell whether commercial expansion and crime will harm Goa's pristine
image and beauty and thus ruin it as a tourist destination.